Before I start showering praises on this place, let me tell you that we're no strangers to luxury opulent places and we would rate this place as one of the finest. The ambiance, food, amenities, rooms, spa and most importantly the staff is immaculate.
It all starts with your own Butler who is waiting for you at the baggage belt of the Airport to help you with your bags. You are then escorted in the hotel Jaguar to the entrance gates of the palace. This is where you will be transported back in time and you will have your own horse chariot which takes you to the main palace. Your arrival at the palace is marked by a flag bearer who escorts you to your room while being showered by flower petals from the upper floors. Your room will be marked in flower designs and waiting there will be your personal staff, who will host you throughout your stay. There are no front desks or reception counters in this hotel. Everything is done in the comfort of your room. If you are one of those who feel all this is a bit too tacky, do remember that Taj always wishes to recreate the grandeur that the royalties experienced back then.
We went there with our son who had just turned one and that was the highlight of our stay of what extent they went to make him feel comfortable. Our room was baby proofed for his safety and equipped with all the necessary items for his stay including bottle sterilizers, baby cot, changing table and even a microwave to warm his milk. The bathroom was also complete with baby toiletries, bath-toys, a toilet training seat and his own little bathrobe. There was also a nanny on standby in case we needed one and a special menu by the chef just for infants. Those who have traveled with babies will know just how difficult it is to find a baby friendly hotel. But Falaknuma comes out with flying stars. And oh yes as part of the grand royal welcome, he even got a toy sword and a horseback ride which our little one thoroughly enjoyed
The experience doesn't stop there, there's a lot to do just in the hotel itself. You must try the Adaa for the local cuisine or the Celeste for Italian. Even local Hyderabadis flock to the 2 restaurants at Flaknuma for its authentic Hyderabadi and Italian foods, so reservations are necessary. The evenings are best enjoyed with the Qawwali, a local folkmusic over drinks.The spa has some exotic treatments on its menu or if you prefer to keep to your room, they will fix you with a nice soaking bath. The palace tour is one not to be missed with a glass of champagne as the hotel historian walks you through the palace and shows you all its treasures. The palace gardens have 2 pools, some water bodies for the wildlife and lots of lookout spots for peacocks which flock in great numbers.
Value wise if you ask me, I'll say its expensive but worth your money. Always remember that for every $ you spend in the palace hotels of India almost 80% goes only for the upkeepment of these heritage sites. You should view this as your contribution to preserve world heritage while getting a nice comfortable holiday in return. Without the tourist $'s, these properties would have rotted away just as the case was with the Falaknuma which had turned into ruins before Taj along with Princess Ersa turned it around.
Even after 10 years of renovation by the princess herself, Falaknuma is still improving and it will be interesting to see how the already opulent product turns out further. This is one place to watch out for as going further its likely to be elevated to the status of the Lake palace or Umaid Bhavan.